Infestation or intelligence — how do outsiders REALLY view White Station?



Tales of White Station have spread far and wide among students from other schools. The use of social media has increased the spread of stories and events among adolescents.

Who wouldn’t want their child going to a school known for academic success and prestige? Known for having 32 Advanced Placement courses, 12 National Merit Semifinalists and nearly half of the school in the optional program, White Station High School is proven to be one of the top public schools in Memphis. However, among high school kids, White Station is perceived differently — for a wide variety of reasons.

“[It is] very diverse, so many kinds of people [are] there,” Christian Brothers student Cannon Haney (11) said. “[White Station] is comforting to me, I’ve never met someone I don’t like that has gone there. It’s a little scary with the amount of gun scares I hear about, and the fights. That and the drugs.” 

Like all Memphis-Shelby County Schools, White Station has a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and weapons on campus, and perpetrators are punished with a suspension of 180 days. However, gun related incidents and school violence have gained attention in recent years.

Many students from surrounding Memphis schools are aware of the well known ‘fight station’ nickname, mainly due to fight videos and posts being spread online.

“I went to White Station Middle,” Crosstown student Colton Martin (10) said. “[White Station High] just seems violent.

Videos of major fights have sometimes been featured on the news, and are almost always posted on social media, which have made them quickly spread among communities, leading to increased attention on the issue.

“The only thing I’ve really heard about [White Station] is the fighting,” Crosstown student Ayden Couch-Smith (12) said.

Another peculiar response from many students when asked about White Station was one word: rats. During 2017, an article was published on Action News 5 about a rat infestation in the school. Students in the article reported concerns about frequently seeing rats in the hallways and classrooms. Now that the rats have been exterminated, it has become a running joke among high school students in Memphis.

“Honestly, I see it as a laid … stoner school that just really cares about graduating kids,” Christian Brothers student Harrison Mongue (11) said.

The stereotypes of American public schools being violent and poorly taken care of are rampant among young people, especially on the internet and apps such as TikTok. Running jokes of bad education, inedible cafeteria food and substance use at school are all common among teenagers. Private schools are often stereotyped on social media as academically superior and a better environment, and debates of private vs public education are hot topics among high school kids. 

“I view [White Station] as one of the more academically challenging high schools,” Christian Brothers student Caleb Walters (12) said. “[I]ts classes appear to be just as good, if not better than a private school education. Socially, White Station students are diverse and more liberal. The students seem more accepting and overall [friendlier] than private school students.”

Out of the White Station student body, 31% are Caucasian, 44% are African American, 9.1% are Asian or Pacific Islander and 11% are Hispanic, making it an extremely culturally diverse community. White Station boasts being ranked as the 14th best public high school in Tennessee, with many awards in areas including athletics, extracurriculars and academics.

“Overall White Station is pretty chill,” East student John Mccarthy (12) said. “At least in terms of Memphis public high schools.”